O + S is the new collaborative project between Orenda Fink (formerly of EvilSponge faves Azure Ray) and Cedric LeMoyne, aka Scalpelist, who used to be in Remy Zero. I am not familiar with Remy Zero's work, but i think they were a 90s alternative rock act. The name of this new project only works if you use his DJ Name, meaning this band is Orenda plus Scalpelist. Okay.
This record was mostly recorded with just Orenda and Cedric, with a few collaborators thrown in every now and again. Especially of note is their producer, one Michael Patterson, who apparently got his start working with the Notorious B.I.G. So, O + S is a collaboration between dreampop/slowcore, alt-rock, and hip-hop. How very odd.
In fact, on paper i would think that this album wouldn't be interesting. Fortunately the application is far better than the theory. This is a mellow, largely slow, hazy record, with Ms. Fink's voice floating in a sea of delicate sound. I find this record easy to get lost in.
There are so many wonderful tunes here. New Life gives things their proper start with a swell of synth strings and Fink singing long, aching notes. Toreador is paced like a slow march, inexorably driven forward. Lonely Ghosts has LeMoyne harmonizing with Fink, backed by a slow horn riff. Lovely and mournful.
My favorite track here is We Do What We Want To, which starts with Fink singing lightly over several looped vocal samples. The repeated voices of the samples forms a nice haze behind her voice, and then LeMoyne joins in with a great bass riff and some machine drums. The song moves at a head-bopping pace.
This has become one of my favorite records so far this year. O + S is fine listening in so many circumstances. It is that type of mellow music that works great in the background as pleasing sonic wallpaper, but also rewards structured listening with melody and interesting layers of sound.
I got this album a few months back, listened to it a few times and was impressed. Then we saw the band perform at SxSW09, where Orenda and Scalpelist had expanded the lineup with 4 new members. Apparently, Mr. LeMoyne plays bass in the live band. Live, they were able to re-create this sound, which is no small feat.
I am very impressed, and hope that this collaboration continues. I wonder what type of music the full live band will record. I hope i get the chance to find out.